‘Grey’ portrays a tragic, yet humorous story

NW Staff

Film: Grey Gardens

Director: Michael Sucsy

Producer: David Coatsworth,

Michael Sucsy

Writer: Michael Sucsy,

Patricia Rozema

Starring: Drew Barrymore,

Jessica Lange

Runtime: 104 minutes

Rating: Not Rated


Over 30 years ago, famous documentarians Albert and David Maysles set out to make a film on Jackie O., but found her relatives all the more interesting and shifted the focus to them. The film, “Grey Gardens,” presented the world with the tale of Jackie O’s aunt and cousin, both of whom were named Edith. HBO recently expanded on the story with their own film that aimed to show the hows and whys behind the downfall of these two glamorous women in a film of the same name.

Shifting between 1936 and 1973, “Grey Gardens” tells the story of the Bouvier family. Both mother and daughter relished the high-society life they were living, but then withdrew from it to live on their Long Island home, known as Grey Gardens. It is here where they have shut themselves off from society. The film switches between the days of their beauty and luxurious lifestyle to their now decrepit lives.

“Grey” is the film where Barrymore finally proves she’s capable of more than just chick flicks. Anyone who has viewed the documentary will see just how spot-on she is as “Little” Edith Bouvier. Nearly every inflection and gesture is a ghostly image of the real woman. Lange is just as on as Barrymore and plays the matriarch of the family perfectly. Watching these two women portray the lives of Jackie O’s relatives is uncanny and beautiful.

The biggest problem with this film, though, is the fact that the story about their days of glory just isn’t that interesting and doesn’t give the thorough insight into their lives as one would hope. These scenes paint their relationship more as a familial love story rather than a controlling mother taking advantage of her submissive daughter. They both try to lead their own lives but are ultimately forced together to live a life of quiet desperation.

With performances that are top-notch and a catchy soundtrack, “Grey” is a humorous, tragic and touching story that deserves at least one viewing. “Grey Gardens” is currently playing on HBO.